Shaquille O’Neal on Falling in Love With Business: “When My First Tax Refund Check Came, I Was Like, Oh My God, Business Is Fun”

Published 01/02/2022, 12:00 PM EST
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Shaquille O’Neal attends 2019 World Lightweight & World Light Heavy Weight Championships at State Farm Arena on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal grew up watching and learning from the best. From Magic Johnson to Patrick Ewing, Shaq found his inspiration only among the greats in the NBA. He had his eyes set on greatness from the very onset of his basketball career. However, a career in Sports is highly based on your ability to compete. And with age, that ability goes away. So Shaq had to have thought long-term for his future. He knew that after a point, he would have to hang his sneakers and move on in his life.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Shaquille O’Neal arrives ahead of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

And when he met his role model, Magic Johnson, he said something to him that got him thinking. He said, “It’s okay to be famous but at some point, you want to start owning things.” and that got Shaq thinking.

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Shaquille O’Neal on why he loves doing business

When Shaquille O’Neal had this conversation with Magic, he immediately worked on putting his thought into action. On his recent podcast with Gary Vee, he revealed the details of what happened after his conversation with Magic. He started a corporation with his family members and got his first tax return cheque. O’Neal claims this is where everything changed for him.  He said, “When I got my first tax-return cheque, I was like ‘Oh my god! Business is fun, I like it.'” 

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LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 14: TV personality/retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal onstage at The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber at Sony Pictures Studios on March 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber will air on March 30, 2015 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal’s net worth, business investments, and more

Shaq was an early investor in Google after overhearing two men discussing search engines in 1999. Later, he bought a stake in Apple, the technology powerhouse, while still playing basketball. O’Neal’s other interests since then have included his own branded soft beverages – Shaq Soda and Shaq Fu Punch – as well as a massive chain of food restaurants and franchisees. O’Neal is a part-owner in 155 distinct Five Guys franchises and has stakes in 17 Auntie Anne pretzel restaurants.

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Indeed, that advice from Magic Johnson, combined with the feeling of getting his tax return cheques, made him millions in the future. Shaq’s present net worth stands at a whopping $400 million, years after his professional retirement.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

494 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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